fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "David Stanley Karlsson" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 16:43:50 -0400
PLEASE BEAR WITH ME FOR NOW AND DO NOT ASK MY NAME. WHAT I HAVE MAY BE OF INTEREST TO YOU. IT IS A BUSINESS PROPOSAL THAT WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO YOU AND I.
I LIVE IN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. I AM 53 YEARS OLD AND I HAVE BE
I WILL ALSO GIVE YOU MORE PERSONAL DETAILS OF ME AND THE TRANSACTION ON YOUR REPLY. EN WORKING IN A BANK IN LONDON FOR THE PAST 17 YEARS WHERE I AM PRESENTLY AN ACCOUNTS MANAGER. I WILL GIVE YOU MY FULL DETAILS ON YOUR REPLY TO THIS LETTER. MY AIM OF CONTACTING YOU IS TO SOLICIT YOUR CO-OPERATION AND ASSISTANCE BASED ON ONE OF THE ACCOUNTS UNDER MY MANAGEMENT CONTAINING $18.5MILLION (EIGHTEEN MILLION & FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS) WHICH HAS REMAINED DORMANT FOR THE LAST TWELVE YEARS. THIS ACCOUNT WAS OWNED BY THE LATE MRS. LAUREN BAKER AND FOLLOWING MY INVESTIGATION, I FOUND OUT THAT SHE DIED ON MAY 1992 VIA A CAR CRASH IN THE BAHAMAS AND SHE LEFT NO CHILDREN OR NEXT OF KIN.
I WILL INFORM YOU MORE ON HOW WE CAN GET THE MONEY IN HER ACCOUNT TRANSFERED INTO YOUR ACCOUNT IF YOU AGREE TO CO-OPERATE WITH ME ON THIS ON YOUR REPLY TO THIS MAIL.
PLEASE TREAT THIS AS CONFIDENTIAL, URGENT AND OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE.
PLEASE RESPOND ONLY VIA: email@example.com